HILTON HEAD, S.C.— One South Carolina charter boat captain is documenting shark sightings off the coast of Hilton Head Island.
Chip Michalove offers fishing charters in the Lowcountry and helps with shark research.
He says dozens of great white sharks have been feasting on a whale that floated into the coast of South Carolina from Canada.
The North Atlantic Right whale is an endangered species that was found dead more than four months after it had been seen caught in fishing gear.
Now, the videos he captured are going viral online.
“It created some amazing footage and amazing experiences,” Michalove told WSAV NOW. “To see the great white sharks circling this whale was a dream come true.”
“We had sharks pushing the boat, circling the boat, pushing the motors, and they’re all great white sharks,” he added. “This isn’t Australia, this is right here in South Carolina so it was really amazing.”
Michalove has been helping scientists tag and track sharks for the past six years. The sharks that he’s seen in the past few weeks weren’t tagged, so they were able to study the new 16 foot long, 3,000-pound visitors.
He described it as a great day for the science community.
“We’re tagging the first great white sharks here in the Lowcountry, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. There’s pretty much zero data of any white sharks down here so it’s really cool to lead these crews out and capture these great white sharks,” Michalove said.
“It’s really tough dealing with a 3,000 pound fish on the side of the boat but the type of science and satellite equipment that’s going into these fish is pretty amazing and cool to be a part of,” he added.
Michalove says the entangled whale serves as a reminder to keep beaches clean. But Hilton Head visitors don’t have to worry about attacks from sharks.
“There’s nothing to worry about when it comes to swimming off of Hilton Head,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of big sharks out there, but they’re not cruising the beach. We haven’t had a fatality since the 1840s.”
You can get the chance to spot great white or tiger sharks with the Outcast Fishing crew. Visit the Outcast Fishing website for more information on charter boat adventures.